What Is Soft Rot?

Soft rot is a group of bacteria-related diseases. It targets the plants’ succulent parts, such as fruit, stems and bulbs, and damages the molecules that bind plant cells, ultimately causing the plants to fall apart.

Soft Rot Symptoms

Soft rot infections appear as soft, sunken spots on the plant’s flesh. In time, the spots grow, and turn anywhere from cream-colored to black.

The rot begins odorless. However, it develops a foul smell over time, as the bacteria breaks down and decays the plant’s tissue.

What Causes Soft Rot?

The bacteria responsible for soft rot is omni-present, meaning it’s everywhere. And there are many ways it can reach your plants – through wounds in the plant, with insects, through the soil or water, or even from infected seeds.

Soft rot can develop in almost any temperature. But it requires wet conditions. The presence of free water is one of the leading causes of soft rot infections.

Soft rot affects a range of hosts, including cruciferous vegetables, cucurbits, roots such as potatoes and onions, and more.

Read our complete grower’s guide to soft rot prevention.

bacterial soft rot on strawberry
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